The untold truth of Cory Booker
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Cory Booker is more than just a politician. He holds multiple college degrees, he’s known for promoting love and positivity, and while serving as the mayor of Newark, N.J., he once ran into a burning building to save a woman’s life, according to BBC. He would later tweet, “Thanks 2 all who are concerned. Just suffering smoke inhalation. We got the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok.” Umm, is this guy human?!
This random act of kindness is just one of the many ways Booker walks it like he talks it. He has expressed his belief in “radical love for all people,” and it’s his belief in fairness for all that propelled his career from Newark city council member to mayor, and culminated with his 2013 special election win to become a New Jersey senator, according to his official government bio.
In 2019, the Rhodes Scholar had his eyes on an even bigger prize when he announced (via Twitter)that he was running for president in 2020. So who is the rising-star Democratic who famously had an “I am Spartacus’ moment” during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing?
Here’s the untold truth of Cory Booker.
A sci-fi lover with a lot of potential
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Given his accomplishments in adulthood, it should come as no surprise that Cory Booker displayed exemplary traits as a child. He grew up outside of Newark, N.J. in the wealthy suburb of Harrington Park, N.J., according to the The New York Times. He’s one of two sons of Carolyn and Cary Booker, the latter of whom passed away in 2013 “after a long bout with Parkinson’s disease,” NJ.com reported.
Growing up, Booker was a sci-fi aficionado who had a love for Star Trek. He got good grades at Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan, and was the star wide receiver and defensive back on his school’s football team, according to a separate NJ.com report. HIs classmates and the school’s staff could tell that Booker was destined for greatness. “When he was in high school, I thought he’d be the first black president,” Flo Muller, Booker’s high school teacher, told the website.
Perhaps he will be a few years too late to become the first black U.S. president, but his accomplishments dating back to his childhood are impressive nonetheless.
He was an ‘habitually social overachiever’
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While in high school, Cory Booker was described as a “habitually social overachiever.” His childhood friend, Chris Magarro, revealed the political figure was so eager to please others, it would sometimes turn people off. “It would be very hard to figure that he’s that genuine.” Magarro told the The New York Times. “He really is just that nice.”
Niceness is just one of Booker’s redeeming qualities. Did we also mention that he’s extremely intelligent and athletic, as well? After graduating from high school, he was accepted into Stanford, thanks to “a 4.0 and 1600,” which is his oft-repeated joke that he explained to Phawker represented his football stats (“4.0 yards per carry and 1,600 receiving yards”), not his high school transcript. But make no mistake; Although he was an All-American football star, Booker was no academic slouch. While at Stanford, Booker was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship, which led him to study at Oxford, where he earned an honors degree in History.
Booker wasn’t done with his post-secondary education, though. He enrolled at Yale Law School, and instead of moving close to campus, Esquire reports he lived in Newark, N.J. and made the “three- or four-hour haul” to New Haven, Conn. to attend class. Here’s why…
He moved to the ‘worst street’ in Newark
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While attending Yale, there came a time when Cory Booker felt “lost.” He didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do with his life. All he knew was that he wanted to be in the city of Newark, N.J. He told Esquire that he sought out the “worst street” he could find and decided to call that place home so he could “be there. For people.”
Esquire reported that even while serving as mayor of the city, Booker rented a place in a “sector of the lawless South Ward that leads Newark in shootings.” As mayor, most of his nights were spent riding along in an unmarked SUV to help with neighborhood outreach. After being elected to the Senate, he told The 74 he was still living in a low-income area on the “south end of Martin Luther King Blvd,” making him the only U.S. senator who lived “in an inner-city, low-income community.”
It’s beyond admirable that a man who grew up in a wealthy neighborhood would prefer to live in the trenches, so to speak.
So what does it matter if he’s gay?
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A handsome, successful man who is focused on his career, and who rarely talks about his love life is surely gay, right?! That’s the speculation that Cory Booker has dealt with since he began his political career. For those who weren’t questioning his sexual orientation, they were linking him together with other public figures, like Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey’s BFF Gayle King (pictured, right), according to Extra.
Booker squashed the rumors about a budding romance with King a follow-up interview with the media outlet. “I wish there was a different word than friend [to describe our relationship] because [King’s] really one of the best things that’s happened to me. On my lowest days, she’s the one that picks me up and calls me, checks in on me, she’s been an incredible friend — that’s it.”
Booker told the Washington Post he prefers to keep his dating life on the down-low for one simple reason: “Because how unfair is it to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven’t signed up for that yet?” he said. Makes sense. And as for the people who are convinced that he’s gay, Booker answered, “Some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am?”
An unlikely person motivated his political career
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In NJ.com’s announcement of Cory Booker’s father Cary Booker’s death, it was reported that Cary was “an inspiration” to Cory and was “often credited with being a principal reason for [Cory] entering public service.” Most parents play an influential role in their children’s lives, so that’s no surprise. But it wasn’t a family member who pushed Cory into politics.
Picture it: It was in the ’90s, and Cory was living in a housing project in Newark, N.J. He told The 74, “I had this incredibly good path. I had the business plan. Everything. I had a fellowship to be a low-income-tenant rights lawyer. My dream was to start the next Harlem Children’s Zone.”
But that all changed after he had a conversation with Miss Virginia Jones, the tenant president of the housing projects. Jones “jerked” Cory’s chain, and asked him, “What is your purpose? Why are you here? If you are going to make a difference, it’s good to be a lawyer, but we need you to get in politics.” But Cory wasn’t too fond of politicians. In fact, he had “disdain for the profession.” However, he took note of her request and soon realized that becoming a politician was a much more useful way “to make measurable change in the community.”
Given Booker’s accomplishments in revitalizing Newark (flawed as detractors may claim them to be), Miss Jones should feel pretty good knowing that without her none of that may have happened.
He’s not easily provoked
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No one is safe from the wrath that exudes from Donald Trump’s twitter account, not even Cory Booker. On July 25, 2016, here’s how the leader of the free world name-dropped the crusading New Jersey senator: “If Cory Booker is the future of the Democratic Party, they have no future! I know more about Cory than he knows about himself,” Trump tweeted. Sure, that sounds legit, right?
When CNN host Chris Cuomo asked Booker to come up with a theory of his own (via the Washington Post), Booker didn’t lead with anger. Instead, he simply stated, “I love you, Donald. I pray for you. I hope that you find some kindness in your heart that you’re not going to be somebody that spews out insults to your political opposition, that you’re going to start finding some ways to love.” Impressive.
When he does let his anger get the best of him, he never acts out in aggression. Instead, Booker told The Atlantic that he heads to the gym instead. As a 2020 presidential hopeful who may go head-to-head with Trump, we predict a lot of gym visits in his future.
He owns up to his mistakes
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In Sept. 2018, Cory Booker and his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee were given the task of grilling Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh’s reputation came into question when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford alleged that he sexually assaulted her during a house party in the 1980s, according to the The Washington Post.
During a White House news conference (via the Chicago Sun Times), Donald Trump went on the defensive in support of his nominee, all while calling into question Booker’s 1992 remorseful recount in his college newspaper, The Stanford Daily. The piece, entitled “So much for stealing second,” detailed an incident at a 1984 New Year’s Eve party when, at the age of 15, Booker groped a girl’s breast after a passionate kiss. “After having my hand pushed away once, I reached my ‘mark,'” he wrote.
Right-wing media outlets had a field day with the revelation, but Booker wasn’t even attempting to hide from his past. Not only did he expose his own indiscretion, but he also aired out even more of his dirty laundry in another 1992 article in his school’s paper. This one was entitled, “Pointing the finger at gays,” and he discussed the contempt he once had for homosexuals. “Well, it didn’t take me long to realize that the root of my hatred did not lie with gays but with myself. It was my problem,” he wrote.
A politician with an amazing sense of self-awareness? We’ll take it.
His biggest mentor
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When asked to name his biggest mentor, it was hard for Cory Booker to choose between his mom, Carolyn Booker (pictured above), and his late father, Cary Booker. In the end, he told USA Today he had to choose his mom because she taught him how to live a “full life.”
How exactly did she provide him with that blueprint? Carolyn attended historically black North Carolina Central University, and when she was hired to work in human resources at IBM, she and her husband, Cary, were “among the first black people” employed at the major corporation, according to JewishStandard.
The civil rights activist also lent her time to their community and was always on hand for Cory’s school field trips. “She was so disciplined: constantly focused on improving herself, always reading and learning,” he told USA Today. “She was just kind to people, and her kindness in treating everyone was a great model for me to emulate.”
So that’s where he gets his unwavering kindness from. Job well done, Carolyn.
Under pressure to settle down
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Cory Booker excelled in most areas of his life, but one downturn occurred in 2012 when he co-founded WayWire, a video-sharing website. Booker was at the forefront of the company, while simultaneously handling his duties as a New Jersey senator. The Washington Post reported in Aug. 2013 that Booker attributed his commitment to WayWire as “in part a result of his restless mind but also his lack of familial obligations.” Despite Booker being very low-key about his dating life, he revealed to the outlet that it’s his “great dismay” that he hadn’t “settled down with a life partner.” Others around him were also turning up the heat in regards to his personal life, including his “pastor friend,” with whom he confided about his troubles.
Instead of receiving spiritual advice, the pastor reportedly told Booker, “You need to get married.” It was that conversation that prompted Booker to start dating more, but it was still apparent to those closest to him that something was missing, including New York Senator Chuck Schumer who once “told Booker he had a hole in his heart” because he he didn’t have children. Ouch.
WayWire would later be acquired by video distributor Magnify in Oct. 2013, according to Business Insider, freeing up Booker’s time so that he could finally find his very special “boo.”
He ‘got a boo’ and she just might be his perfect match
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After declaring he we would run for president in the 2020 election, Cory Booker sat down with The Breakfast Club radio show in Feb. 2019 and revealed he was dating someone “really special.” He added, “I got a boo.” His special lady turned out to be actress and political activist Rosario Dawson. The two reportedly met at a political fundraising event, Booker revealed during a March 2019 CNN Town Hall event.
Dawson chatted with TMZ in March 2019 and confirmed she and the New Jersey senator were an item. “I am just grateful to be with someone that I respect and love and admire so much,” she said. Aww. Adorbs!
Booker further confirmed how goo-goo ga-ga he was for the Men in Black II actress during an interview with Good Day New York. “What I am trying to create with Rosario is something that will last forever,” he said, adding, “Rosario is making me dream even bigger dreams that have nothing to do with my professional life.”
We’re rooting for them!